It's great to be back with you all today. For the past several months, I've been telling you about the United
Today I want to tell you about the real life rescue of the L.C. Waldo, which occurred only a hundred miles from where I live.
In November of 1913, the Great Lakes Region experienced the strongest storm (or series of storms) ever on record. This "Freshwater Hurricane" blew winds of about 70 mph coupled with temperatures of about 24 degrees Fahrenheit across Lake Superior. The L.C. Waldo was a 450 foot freighter loaded with ore and bound for Lake Erie when the storm hit.
The Waldo faced winds and seas so harsh that the pilot house and was torn away and the steering damaged. The master of the Waldo attempted to steer the mammoth steamer to shelter by slipping into the large bay behind Lake Superior's Keweenaw Peninsula. But in attempting to reach L'anse Bay, the vessel ran aground on Gull Rock, a little patch of rock and reef two miles off the coast of Michigan. The Waldo then broke in two, and the crew took shelter in the forward part of the steamer, where the freezing waves and spray soon formed a wall of ice that sealed them inside. The 22 men crew, two women, and dog aboard then endured almost four days being stuck inside the hull of the steamer without food as they waited for rescue.
The Portage Life-Saving Station, located 60 miles from the Waldo, didn't learn of the the steamer's wreck until the following day. With their lifeboat in tact, the Portage Keeper left for Gull Rock, opting to take the longer route through L'anse Bay, which afforded more protection from the elements by going around the back side of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The keeper also arranged for a tugboat to meet them at the mouth of the Portage Waterway and pull the lifeboat the rest of the way to the wreck.
Both the Portage Lifesavers and the Eagle Harbor Lifesavers arrived at the Waldo in the early morning on November 11, reaching the wrecked steamer within minutes of each other. The lifesavers used axes to cut away at the built up ice sealing that sealed the crew inside the hull and saved everyone aboard, even the dog.
For their bravery, the lifesavers from both stations were awarded Gold Lifesaving Medals for their heroism.
So there you have it, a real life story of true lifesavers, and hopefully a good example of why the United States Life-Saving Service was so important.
If you missed some of the previous posts on the United States Life-Saving Service and are interested in reading more, here's a list:
*****www.inspirationalromanceratings.com. Naomi is looking forward to the release of her next book, The Wyoming Heir, in January 2014. For more information about Naomi or her books, please visit her website at www.naomirawlings.com.